Thursday, August 7, 2014

Painting, Lunch and Touring Roche Castelagmano in La Morra, Italy

"Time in La Morra," oil, 10"h x 8"w, ©Jill Banks 2014 features Anna and Dot as my models in the piazza at La Morra. Thank you! The former bench inhabitants had moved on
I just received an email from a fellow Great Falls Studios artist -- photographer Silvia Gonzalez-Roman -- with the message that she hopes that my Paint with Me in Italy workshop is as divine as I dreamed it would be. Yes.

And lots more.

While driving back from a very full, happy day in La Morra with Christine and Anne, two very enthusiastic workshoppers, Christine said she'd titled her journal for the trip "Better Than a Dream Come True." Totally agree!

Trina painting a balcony lined with geraniums in La Morra. Bella!
Through the guidance of Manu and Mary Beth Gaiarin, we're seeing and experiencing their Italy. Each of our guest hosts during the afternoons have graciously added their views -- passion for the land, their work, their love for this place and people.

We rose early to depart on the 45 minute trip to La Morra from Treiso -- to gain a whole morning of painting. Considering so many of the workshop students are beginners, it is amazing how easily they've adapted to discovering a place, and selecting from there what they most want to paint, setting up their easels, making their sketches, laying down the foundation and going to work. Each painting from the week is better than the one before. Their attitudes are fantastic. It would be difficult to feel otherwise, but they are thrilled to be here, sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience (but we're -- Manu, Mary Beth, Randy and I are already planning to do this again next year). You're invited ... with the current attendees getting first dibs on 2015 slots.

The group in La Morra, Italy. (From left to right: Anne, Dorry, Mary Beth, Sarah, Claudia (the artist), Me, Joanne, Levena, Anna, Trina, Dot)
Lunch and tour of the winery was hosted by Alessandro Locatelli and his mother, artist Claudia Ferraresi. The winery,  Roche Costamagna has been producing Barolo wines in La Morra, Italy since 1841. Our lunch of authentic Piedmontese fare was eaten under the loggia with a spectacular view of the valley. (La Morra sits on the top of a steeply sloped hill.)

Part of me is always multi-tasking. Here we are in Italy, in the midst of a move stateside ... and thus appears the desk and chair that would make all non-easel work gloriously happy. I want this. Look for something inspired by it appearing in my townhouse someday soon.
Claudia Ferraresi introduced her art, landscapes that are a reflection of her love of the land. Her talk, interpreted by Manu was beautiful. She welcomed the art community. Welcomed the fact that we would be taking with us, through our art, a piece of the land she loves.

Levena at Roche Castelagmano
Hers was also a good reminder that art isn't about the technique. It's your heart and your impressions that make it art. Good words for those that are beginning -- learning the technique to represent what they see -- knowing that they are laying the foundation for later expression.
"Fortress and Flowers," oil, 10"h x 8"w, ©Jill Banks 2014: this morning's painting at La Morra, Italy.Photos from this whole trip have been off. I guess I need to read the manual. Or come back?

Coming Up

  • Aug. 16-Oct. 12: Paint the Shenandoah Exhibition, River District Arts, Sperryville, VA
  • Aug. 23-24: Shadyside: The Art Festival on Walnut Street, Pittsburgh, PA
  • September 13 & 14: Alexandria (King Street) Art Festival, Alexandria, VA
  • September 20 & 21: Armonk Outdoor Art Show, Armonk, New York
  • October 5: McLean MPA Artfest, Sunday, October 5, McLean, VA. 52 artists in McLean Central Park
  • Oct. 17-19: Great Falls Annual Studio Tour, Artists’ Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA
  • Ongoing: Visit the studio I share with 14 other artists at the Artists’ Atelier, Great Falls, VA open Wed. and Sat., 12- 4pm
  • Jan.-Feb. 2015: Solo Exhibit, ArtSpace Herndon, Herndon, VA
  • See the Events page for more info/updates
Thanks for reading!


Phone: 703.403.7435

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